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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - How Can I Benefit From My Pain

Rick Warren - How Can I Benefit From My Pain

Rick Warren - How Can I Benefit From My Pain

Hello everybody and what a historic weekend this is as we move back into the new remodeled worship center at Lake Forest nearly two years after the pandemic started. I wanna thank you again, everybody, for your prayers as I'm recovering from two surgeries. And while I'm not yet able to stand and teach every service yet, I'm gonna be at all the services of our Lake Forest campus this weekend. Now, today, I want us to continue with part two of our series on pain. Where is God when it hurts? I've been thinking a lot about pain in the last month, and I thought I'd just share with you what I've learned about pain from God's word. One of the most common questions I'm asked as a pastor is this, if God is good, if God's a good God, why is there so much pain in the world?

Now, that's not exactly a new question. In fact, thousands of years ago, Solomon asked this question in the Bible. In Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, he says this, "So what do people get for all their hard work and struggles on Earth? Their lives are filled with pain and their work is filled with grief. Even at night, their minds don't rest. It doesn't make sense at all". Now, if you're taking notes, I hope you took out the message notes. If you're watching online, you can download the teaching notes right now. I want you to underline the phrase, their lives are filled with pain. Just underline that, their lives are filled with pain.

Having traveled literally all around the world, and I've seen many of the poor situations and been in the worst disaster areas and have counseled thousands of people in pain, I can tell you this much, this verse sums up what much of the world feels. Every day is a day of pain for most of the people in the world, why? Well, I'd be honest with you. I don't know all the reasons there's pain in the world. It's on my list of questions to ask God when I get to heaven. But I do know some reasons. The first big reason is we often experience pain because God gave us the freedom of choice, the freedom to make choices, the freedom to choose between right and wrong, good and bad. That's not only our greatest blessing, it's also our greatest liability too because we often make poor choices. And when we make poor choices, we hurt ourselves and we hurt others.

Now God could easily wipe out all of the pain in the world by simply eliminating evil. But if he did that, he'd have to wipe us out too because every one of us have acted in evil ways. We act in selfish, and self-absorbed, and self-centered rebellion against God literally every day of our lives. So there was no pain in the world until sin entered the world, it broke everything, and along with it came pain. There was no pain in the garden of Eden. Yes, God could eliminate all the hurt and all the pain in the world by simply removing our freedom to make bad choices. But you know, then we wouldn't be people anymore, we'd be puppets.

Now, in part one of this series, I gave you a practical definition of pain. And I said this, pain is a warning light that something is wrong. Pain is a warning light that something is wrong. And if we didn't have that warning light, we would often continue in the wrong direction and continue to hurt ourselves. For instance, if you didn't feel pain when you touch a hot stove, then you wouldn't know to remove your hand, and it would probably just burn up, and you could lose your hand without even knowing it if you didn't have pain sensations. Pain says, "Stop it". Pain says, "Don't do this". Pain is a warning sign.

Now last week in part one, I shared from God's word five ways that God tells us how he can use pain in our lives for good. He can use it for a good purpose. And if you miss that message, I wanna ask you to go back and watch it online either at or because it's half of what I'm teaching you on the meaning of pain. Part one, we looked at how God uses pain for good five ways in your life, and I'm not gonna cover that again. But today in part two, I wanna share how you can benefit from pain by the choices that you make by choosing the way you respond to pain. See God says, "I can bring good out of it by doing these things," and he gives us five good reasons. And he also says, here are five choices that you can make that will help pain be beneficial in your life.

Now, in that first message, I pointed out that pain is inevitable, okay? It's inevitable, it is not optional. You can't opt out of it. Nobody gets to go through life pain-free. Now, when I talk about pain, we're not just talking about physical pain, like the kind I've been going through for the last month, but we're talking about every kind of pain, emotional pain, mental pain, relational pain, spiritual pain, financial pain, vocational pain, pain at work because we live in a broken world where nothing works, nothing works perfectly, everything's broken, then pain is inevitable. But as I said last week, pain is inevitable, misery is optional, that's choice, because you do have choices that you can make. You can choose how you're going to respond to pain, and that's part of being a human, that's part of being made in the image of God, that's part of the gift.

The downside is we have pain. The upside is, God says, "You get to choose what you do with it. And you can actually use it for good in your own life if you'll let me do what I wanna do, and if you'll make the right kind of choices". Now, because we have that ability, what it means is this, this is what I wanna talk about today. We don't have to waste our pain, we don't have to waste our pain. God doesn't want you to waste any of the pain. You're gonna go through pain whether you wasted or not, but you may as well use it for good. You can benefit from it. And through the choices that we make, we can come out on the other side of pain being better, not merely bitter.

Now I've done a lot of study in pain over the decades, and I've seen many, many scientific studies that have documented the fact that human beings are able to handle enormous amounts of pain if, there's the if, the big if, if we know there's a good purpose behind it, there's a good purpose for our pain, and then we can benefit from the pain. But if we don't make the right choices, the pain in our lives ends up being worthless, it ends up being wasted, it ends up being pointless, it is pain without any purpose. And pain without purpose, pointless pain, arbitrary pain, unexplained, irrational, not benefiting from it pain, that's the kind of pain that's unbearable, and intolerable, and it drives us to despair. On the other hand, when you know there's a purpose, you can handle an enormous amount of pain. Every mother knows that giving birth is painful.

If you wanna ask a mom after the service, go right ahead. It's why they call it labor. But mothers willingly go through that pain, the pain of labor, for a purpose that's greater than the pain. And what does that purpose? To bring forth life. Now, if I were able to ask all of you, moms, who are watching right now, how many of you would say that the pain of childbirth was worth it? All your hands would go up. And if I asked, how many of you would want to experience that pain for no purpose at all? No hand would go up, okay? I recently agreed to a very painful surgery and recovery because I believe that the purpose of the surgery was worth the pain. Now here's the point that I'm trying to make. No matter what kind of pain you're going through right now, you're gonna be far better prepared to handle it and cope with it. If you focus on what I'm about to share with you, the five possible purposes for your pain, now I shared that last week, God's five purposes for your pain and the five potential benefits of your pain that I wanna share with you today.

Now we're gonna begin with Romans 8:28. It's one of the great most famous verses in the Bible, one of the great promises of the Bible. In Romans 8:28, you've got this memorized, "We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose". Now look at let's hold it there for just a minute. Look at that verse. We know that in all things, not some things, all, that means even the painful things, God works. It doesn't say all things are good, doesn't say all things are pleasant, God works for those who love Him, who've been called according to His purpose. And it only makes sense when you understand the purpose. What I wanna share with you this weekend is this. The pain that you're going through, whatever you're going through right now, at work, at home, in your body, in your mind, in your relationships, pain can be managed by purpose, pain can be managed on purpose, and pain can be managed for a purpose.

Now, if you've read the "Purpose Driven Life" book, you know that the Bible tells us that God has five purposes for your life. And these five purposes are repeated and they are reinforced hundreds of times in the scripture. It's not like God's hidden this out and only put it in one place in scripture. God has five purposes for your life, let's review it. Number one, God's first purpose for your life is to know and love Him, to get to know and love Him. He gave you the capacity to know and love Him. You are planned for God's pleasure. You were made to be loved by God. You created as an object of God, to be loved by God. God knows everything about you and loves you. He wants you to know and love Him back. By the way, that's called worship. Worship is getting to know and loving God. The second purpose of your life is to learn to love other people. You are formed for God's family. We call that fellowship. God says, "I don't want you to just love me. I want you to learn to love other people as well".

This is the great commandment. Love God with all your heart, worship, love your neighbor as yourself, fellowship. The third purpose for your life is to grow up spiritually like Christ. You were created to become like Christ. You're born again, but God doesn't want you to stay a baby, He wants you to grow up spiritually, and be like your older brother, Jesus Christ. You're created to become like Him. We call that discipleship, that's the third purpose. To know and love Christ, to learn to love His family and other people, to grow in Christ in character. The fourth purpose of your life is to use the talents that God put in you to serve others. You are shaped for service, you're made for a ministry. This is called your ministry, and it's the fourth purpose of your life. God didn't put you on Earth just to suck up air and live for yourself. He wants you to make a contribution with your life in this world, He wants you to leave the world a better place, He wants you to make a difference in your part of the world.

And the fifth purpose for your life is to share your life message with others. Part of that life message we all share in common, it's called the good news. Part of your life message is the message that God has given you about what you've learned through pain, what you've learned through experiences. You are made for mission, this is called witness. So whether we call it worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and witness, or whether we call it knowing Christ, growing in Christ, serving Christ, sharing Christ, growing in Christ, loving Christ's family, it's all the same five purposes. Now that's all review. If you've been around Saddleback, we've covered that many, many, many times, but what many people don't understand is this, I want you to get this, you ready? God uses pain to help us fulfill all five of those life purposes. Every one of those purposes, worship, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, evangelism, outreach, whatever you call it, God uses pain to help you fulfill each of your life purposes.

Now, sadly, most people don't know this. Most people waste their suffering. They don't profit from their problems, they don't learn from their losses, they don't harvest their hurts, they don't improve from their injuries, they don't advance from their adversity, they don't gain from their pain. And this is why St. Paul asks the question in Galatians 3:4, there on your outline, "Have you gone through all of this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing"? Now, let me read you again. You're gonna have pain in your life. The issue is, are you gonna waste it? Let me ask you. Up to this point in your life, have you wasted the pain in your life?

You say, "Well, I don't know, I may have". Well, it's not too late to start benefiting. You're not through with pain. You're gonna have pain in the future in your life. So it's not too late to start benefiting from it. So today let's look at five ways to benefit from any kind of pain, emotional, relational, all of these different, or physical. And these are choices or actions that you can take and they're all found right here in God's word, all right? Are you taking notes? Here's the five ways you can benefit from your own pain if you'll make these choices.

Number one, use my pain to draw closer to God in worship. Use my pain to draw closer to God in worship. Now, you know that when anything happens painful in your life, you've got a choice. You can run to God or you can run from God. And you know what, I've noticed in life about half people do both. Half people run toward God when they're in pain and about half people run away from God in pain. Now, the second way never seemed to make sense because how are you gonna get any comfort when you're running from God? You know that when you're in pain, your prayers get more real, your worship gets more real, your heart gets more tender. Personally, I've spent more time alone with God in the years, since my young son, my youngest son died by taking his life, than in all the previous years, because in the grief of that loss, what kept me going through all my painful days was time alone with God.

So you can use your pain to draw closer to God in worship. How do you do that? Well, here's what you do. You don't tell him what you think you ought to say. You tell Him exactly how you feel. You cry out to God when you're in pain, God, I'm in pain. You argue with God, God, I don't like this pain. You tell God, you lament. 1/3 of the songs, 50 of the 150 songs are songs of lament. They're crying out to God, they're arguing with God. Did you know that complaining to God is an act of worship? You can worship in all the phases of grief. You can express your shock, you can unload your sorrow, you can share your struggle. What you're feeling with the pain you're feeling, you can surrender yourself, you can ask God to use the pain for good in your life. Paul does this in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. He says, "When we were crushed and overwhelmed, and we saw how powerless we were to help ourselves," he said, "even that was good for then we put everything into the hands of God who alone could save us, and he did help us".

When I'm in pain, it's a time for me to draw closer to God, not further away. It's a time for me to trust God more, to worship God more, to turn to God more, to surrender to God more. When Matthew died, our family did a family surrender to God retreat. Yeah, we went over to Rancho Capistrano and did a day retreat on surrendering to God the pain that we were in. I could give you, friends, thousands, thousands of Saddleback stories of people who came to know Jesus out of their pain or their lives were totally transformed in the process of worshiping when they were in pain. I'm sure many of you could say, "Pain turned me to Christ". And if you can say that, I say like Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:9, "I'm glad, not because it hurts you, but because the pain turns you to God". So the first thing we do in pain is we don't run from God, we run to Him, we turn to God in our pain. We let it draw us closer to God, to trust him more, to worship more, to know and love Him more.

Number two, the second purpose of your life is fellowship, learning to love other people, and you can do this, number two. Use my pain to draw closer to others in fellowship. Use my pain to draw closer to others in fellowship. If you will allow it, pain will deepen your love, pain will mature your love because suffering sensitizes you. I have seen pain turned the most self-centered people into sympathetic people. When Matthew died, Kay and I knew the statistics that couples that have a child died, nearly a third of those marriages end up splitting up with the death of a child because people grieve in different ways, they don't know how to handle it. But Kay and I have actually grown closer together since the death of our youngest child. I'm more in love with my wife than I was when I met her 50 years ago. If you can believe that, she was two years old, 50 years ago.

I asked Kay, "Why do you think we made it when we are so absolutely different in every cell of our bodies"? I was hoping, she'd say, "Because you're so nice to me". but that's not what she said. She said, "Because we intentionally worked at strengthening it and we gave each other grace". Pain will draw you closer to other people if you'll be honest to God, honest with yourself, and honest with others. Pain, when you're in a small group and you take a risk to share where you're in pain, it takes the level of fellowship to the deepest level. There are four levels of fellowship in a small group. There's the fellowship of sharing. Hey, how about them chargers? How about them ramps? That's sharing is what's going on in your life. It's a shallowest level, but it's okay, there's nothing wrong with sharing fellowship. But then the deeper level is studying, studying the word together as a deeper level of fellowship.

When we actually serve together, we do a project together as a small group, that takes our fellowship even deeper. Our small group went to Rwanda one time. We've done lots of different projects together and serving together. But the deepest level of fellowship of all is what the Bible calls the fellowship of suffering, suffering together. Galatians 6:2 says, "By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ". "By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ". What's the law of Christ? Love your neighbor as yourself. The deepest love, true fellowship shows up when people are in pain. That's why you're gonna have to use your pain and you're gonna have to enter into other people's pain to understand what real connection, what real koinonia, what real fellowship, what real belonging is all about.

There's a third purpose in your life and that's God wants you to use your life to grow in Christ in character, and here's the third way you use pain. Use pain to grow more like Jesus in discipleship. Use pain to grow more like Jesus in discipleship. I grow closer to him in worship, I grow closer to others in fellowship, I grow deeper in discipleship through pain. Every pain in your life is an opportunity to grow in character. How do you learn love when you feel unloved? How do you learn joy in the middle of grief? How do you learn peace when everything's in chaos? How do you learn patience when you're not feeling patient? In the exact opposite situation, again, this is a choice. Am I gonna be bitter or better? Am I gonna let this pain be a stepping stone to maturity or a stumbling block to immaturity?

Spiritual growth is not automatic. And I said this last week, I've learned nothing from pleasure in my life. Everything I've learned important in life, I learned through pain. We looked at this verse last week, Proverbs 20:30. Sometimes, it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways. Now, once you're saved, God's number one purpose in your life begins to be making you like Jesus Christ. You're born into God's family, now He wants you to grow up. Now here's the corollary to that. If God wants to make me like Jesus, that's his goal for my life, how does God make me like Jesus? The answer is this, by taking you through everything Jesus went through. Hello, were there times when Jesus was lonely? Yes. Were there times when Jesus was frustrated? Yes. Misunderstood? Yes. Criticized? Yes. Were there times when Jesus was in pain? Yes.

Look at these next few verses on your outline, Hebrews 5:8. "So even though Jesus was God's son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered". If Jesus learned to beat us from suffering, how do you think you're gonna learn it? Hebrews 5:9 says, "Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey Him". If Jesus was made perfect through suffering, how do you think you're made perfect? How do you think you're matured? Same way. Folks, there are some things we only learn through pain and that sets pain becomes a gift, pain becomes a friend if we let it draw us closer to God in worship, draw us closer to others in fellowship, and draw up deeper in discipleship. Paul complimented the way the Corinthian church had grown through their pain. In 2 Corinthians 7:11, I love this in the message. It says, "Now, isn't it wonderful all the ways in which," listen, "this distress has goaded you closer to God"?

Remember, last week, we talked about God uses pain to goad me and direct me, to move me in a direction? This distress has goaded you closer to God. Now in this verse, I want you to notice as we read it, Paul mentioned seven character qualities. And tell me if you wouldn't want to have these seven in your life. "He says, because of the distress you've gone through," he says, "you're more alive, you're more concerned, you're more sensitive, you're more reverent, you're more human, you're more passionate, and you're more responsible". Looked at it from any angle, you've come out of this with purity of heart. That's the scripture. And did you notice those seven qualities that he mentioned? You might wanna go back and circle them there on your outline. If you want those seven qualities in your life, that's Christ's likeness, then ask God to use your pain, okay?

Don't waste your pain, ask God to use it to build your character. The fact this pain transforms us, it never leaves us where it found us. We start off in one area, we go through pain, and when we come out of the pain, we're at a different place in our lives every single time, hopefully more mature if we respond correctly. Now I know you've been under a lot of stress for the last two years. They've been the two worst years probably in your life. But the number one quality of winners in life is this, resilience, the ability to bounce back. I've been watching all the NFL teams through this season. We're halfway through the season. One moment they're up, the next minute, they're down. The next minute, they're hero, the next minute, they're zero. One minute, they just beat the best team, the next minute, the worst team beat them.

How do you become a resilient person? Well, Paul shows us how. Let me first read you Paul's testimony, Paul's testimony is in a couple of passages. The first one is 2 Corinthians 11. Here's what it says, it'll be on the screen. "I've been put in jail," it's Paul talking, "I've been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, I faced death again and again". He says, "Five different times I was whipped with 39 lashes". Imagine how many marks were on his back? Five times 39. "Three times I was beaten with rods". He said, "Once I was stoned with stones. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole day into night adrift at sea". He said, "I faced dangers from flooded rivers and dangers from robbers and dangers from angry mobs, and I faced dangers in the cities, and in the deserts, and on stormy seas. I faced dangers for people who claim to be Christians, but are not". He said, "I've lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights". He said, "I've often been hungry and thirsty and gone without food".

This is the greatest missionary in the history of Christianity. "I've often shivered with cold without enough clothing to keep me warm. And besides all of that, I've got the daily burden of all the churches that I've started". That sounds like pretty discouraging life. Then he adds over in chapter one, of 2 Corinthians 1, 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, he says this. "We're pressed on every side by troubles, but we're not crushed and broken". That's resilience, pressed but not broken. He said, "We're perplexed, but we don't give up and quit". He says, "We're hunted down, but God never abandons us". And he said, "We get knocked down, but we get up again, we keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Christ, of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies".

Wow, would you like to have that kind of resilience? Would you have that kind of faith that you make it through it, that nothing can destroy you and your life? What was the secret of Paul's resilience? It's what he focused on. He had an eternal perspective and eternal purpose. Remember when I said this a few minutes ago, you can handle unbelievable pain if you see a purpose behind it? Well, this is why Paul was able to handle all those things.

In 2 Corinthians 4 there on your outline verses 16 and 17, he says this. Paul says, "This is the reason we never become discouraged". He's gonna give it to you. He's gonna tell you why he is resilient in the face of enormous pain, resilient in the face of enormous trials, tribulations, stress, sorrows, suffering. He says, "We never give up. For this reason, we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying". Did you know your physical being is gradually decaying? "Yet our spiritual being is being renewed day by day, day after day. And these temporary troubles," like the one I'm going through right now, "these temporary troubles that we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory much greater than the trouble".

Where does all that kind of resilience come from? Here's the verse. Here's the key to resilience in your life. "For we fix our attention," here's what we do, "we fix our attention," that means we focus our mind, "we focus our mind, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen because what can be seen lasts only for a little bit of time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever". This table can be seen, but one day this table will decay, the wood will fall apart, the iron on it will rot or rust, but what can't be seen, the father, the son, the holy spirit, heaven, and hell, those are gonna last forever. All right, let's review. When I'm going through pain, if I wanna use it for good in my own life, not waste my pain. I use it to draw me closer to God and worship, draw me closer to others in fellowship, learn to love others in fellowship. I use it to build my character become more like Christ in discipleship.

Number four, use my pain to be more sensitive in serving others. That's the fourth purpose of your life. God wants to use pain to help you with the purpose of service, the purpose of ministry. You weren't put here to live for yourself. Now, how does pain help you be more effective in serving others? How does pain help you be more effective in ministering to others? Pain sensitizes you to the pain in others. You feel it in others. If you have gone through a divorce, you know what it feels like to be divorced. If you've gone through the loss of a loved one, you know what that feels like. If you faced cancer or any other major physical problem, you know what that feels like. If you've been rejected, you know what that feels like. Rather than focusing on my pain, I choose to redirect my focus in helping other people in pain with the same kind of pain.

You see, Jesus wants to redeem your suffering. What does that mean? Redemptive suffering is when you use the pain you're going through to help other people. This is what Kay and I've tried to do with the loss of a child through suicide. We've tried to use our pain to help other people, and there's almost not a week goes by in all the years that have passed that somebody's, famous or not famous, well-known or unknown, old or young, calls Kay or me or both of us and asked us for help. Why? Because they know we've been through it. 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 says this, "God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. Then, when others are troubled, we'll be able to give them the same comfort that God has given us. You can be sure," the Bible says, "that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. So that when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation. For when God comforts us, it's so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things that we suffer".

This past week, here in the United States was Veteran's Day. Who's better qualified to help a suffering veteran than somebody who has been a suffering veteran? Whatever you have had pain in, God wants to use that to help others. We're gonna talk more about that. Now, let me give you the last one. The fifth way you can use your pain is, I can use my pain to witness to the world. I use my pain to witness the world. I'm gonna spend more time on this in another message because it's so important. You see, we think that the world is impressed with our success, with our prosperity. We think the world is impressed by how we enjoy prosperity. But actually the world is impressed with how we handle adversity. And when you're going through pain, all the nonbelievers around you are watching you and say, "What does it mean to be a Christian when you're in the same kind of pain we are"? We have the same pain everybody else does, we just have a different source of comfort.

We think our successes give credibility, but actually, it's our suffering that gives us credibility. And the more you're honest about the suffering in your life, the more vulnerable, the more authentic, the more powerful your impact will be in people's lives. We think fame earns respect, nah. Actually, it's faithfulness that earns respect, faithfulness in tough times. Paul, of all people, was a pro at using his pain as a witness. In Philippians 1:12, he says this, "I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, about how everything that has happened to me," All the bad stuff, he's writing this from prison in Rome, "how everything that's happened to me has helped to spread the Good News". That's pain for a witness. He says, "I use my pain to model my message". I'm trying to do that right now, use pain to model the message. 2 Corinthians 6:4 says, "In everything we do, we try to show that we're true servants of Jesus. We patiently endure suffering," okay? "We patiently endure suffering and hardship and trouble of every kind".

Now you've heard me say this before, but I'm gonna say it again. Your deepest life message will come out of your deepest pain. This is real, this is authentic. This is the kind of witness, this is the kind of testimony the world need to see, not Christians who are perfect, not Christians who have everything together, but Christians who are patient in pain, Christians who walk faithfully in suffering. Now listen, every area where you've had a pain in your life, you may have never realized this, is a testimony. You've been in debt, that's painful, that's testimony. God helped you out of it. Had physical pain, God helped you through that, that's testimony. Been in relational pain, God helped you, that's testimony. Everywhere you've had pain and God helped you, that's a testimony.

Please, as your pastor, I'm asking you, don't waste your pain, don't waste your hurt. There are people all around you going through the very thing you've already gone through and they need your help comforting them. And here's the greatest witness. The greatest witness of God's love in all of history was not Jesus' perfect life. The greatest witness of God's love in all of history was not Jesus' sermons. The greatest witness of God's love for you in the world was not Jesus' miracles or His stories. It was His suffering. That's the greatest witness of God's love. With the arms outstretched, God says, Jesus says, "I love you this much". His suffering was the greatest witness of His love. So here's the bottom line. You can waste your pain or you can utilize it for good. So I said, we're gonna continue in this series, but I wanna end by giving you some homework. Don't waste your pain.

Here's what I want you to do. This week, I want you to get alone by yourself and I want you to write down the four most painful moments in your life, identify 'em, the four most painful moments in your life. And then part two is using last week's message and this week's message. Using part one of the series, how God can use my pain in life five ways. And this week's message, how I can benefit from my pain, five choices that I can make. Use those 10 factors as a checklist to write out how you have personally benefited from pain, how God has helped you through pain, and how the lessons you've learned have been important to you. And why I want you to write down? So you can share it with the next generation. Now, before we close, I wanna pray for everybody who's in pain right now. And if you've never opened your life to Christ, I wanna invite you to open your life to Christ and give Him whatever pain you're facing right now. Let's bow our heads.

Heavenly Father, I wanna thank you for these who are watching right now online, on the internet, at all of our campuses, wherever we are, You're speaking to us directly right now. And I don't know the pain that every heart that's hearing these words is feeling, but You do. You Lord know every pain in our heart. And so I'm asking you to help each person where they need it even though I don't know what that is. I'm asking you to help every woman and every man listening right now and comfort them with the pain in their heart, whatever it is. And I pray that they will use these five purposes to benefit, to not waste their pain.

Now you pray say, "dear God...", just say this in your heart:

Dear God, help me to use my pain to draw closer to you in worship, to be closer to you, to pray more, to wait more, to listen more, to be quiet more. Lord, I'm asking you to use the pain in my life to help me learn how to really love other people through fellowship. I want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of connection. I want to go through the shallower fellowship of sharing and studying and serving and get to the fellowship of suffering. Let me take that risk. God, I ask you to use the pain in my life to make me more like Christ. Jesus learned obedience through suffering. He was made perfect through suffering. I'm asking you to use this for good in my life, build resilience in my life, Lord, as I trust you in my pain. Lord, I'm asking you to use the pain in my life and help me to use it to help other people as a ministry and to take the thing that I'm most embarrassed about or most discouraged about or most afraid of talking about, and use the deepest pain in my heart to help others. I don't wanna waste my pain. I've already gone through it, I don't wanna waste it. And Lord, give me a life message. Help me to use the messages of pain in my life as a witness to others for Jesus' sake.

You've never opened your life to Christ, say:

Jesus Christ come into my life right now, heal my heart and heal my hurt. I give myself completely you. In your name I pray, Amen.

Are you Human?:*